Thank you all for your comments and recommendations. For the record I have downloaded Thomson's Bax 2 and Bax 4 so far - I'm downloading a little at a time to allow me time to get to know the performances - and have enjoyed both recordings immensely. I agree with the views above - and Brian Wilson's review posted today - as regards the 4th. A wonderful performance! As for the 2nd, I have mixed views. On the one hand I miss the drive, energy and anger that Tod and DL-J bring to the score. Thomson's breadth and softer edge almost make the symphony seem unsymphonic, a perspective which the tauter accounts on Naxos and later Chandos refute. On the other hand, there is a giddy ecstasy to the beautiful slow movement that is unique in Thomson's account and is, of itself, quite addictive. For the record, I have ordered the Fredman and am awaiting its delivery via mail order from the UK. I have been tempted to buy the Goosens, but worry that I will be put off by the sound quality. As for the sound of the Chandos downloads, while I have not heard the original CDs and the chandos website does not indicate any remastering, but both symphonies sound very well to my ears.
Jeffrey's post prompts a couple of thoughts and questions. Firstly, does anyone know if there any prospect of the Downes recording of No.3 being reissued? What is the consensus on that recording - I seem to encounter complete antipathy or total worship in the references made to it in reviews and articles on the web. Has anyone ever heard Myer Fredman's ABC classics recording? I have nominated it for an Australian Eloquence reissue, but no word on that front. Has Barbirolli's 3rd ever been available on CD? The third seems to be the most recorded of the set, but it doesn't rise to the peaks of 2, 5 and 6, which at least in my mind are the best of Bax's symphonies. Perhaps I am missing something...
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